Peasants against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica

Peasants against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica

Peasants against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica

Peasants against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica

Synopsis

Recent Costa Rican peasant activism challenges current theories of collective action, development and ethnographic research. The reader is invited to rethink debates about old and new social movements.

Excerpt

From one day almost to the next -- "de la noche a la mañana," as people say in Spanish -- it seemed that the world was coming apart at the seams. All of a sudden, once comfortable and self-satisfied Costa Ricans beheld rapidly growing numbers of disheveled children singing for coins on buses, more and more beggars and rag collectors going door to door, and homeless families huddled under bridges. In the capital, surly men in mirrored sunglasses and embroidered guayabera shirts clogged downtown sidewalks, compulsively tapping numbers into their pocket calculators and calling out ever higher prices for the wads of dollars clutched in their fists. In the little stores that had long been centers of village and neighborhood gossip and social life, grocers doubled and quadrupled prices and then still went bankrupt when it turned out that they hadn't sufficiently estimated real replacement costs for their stock. The middle class panicked; the poor tried anything simply to survive.

This was the beginning of the "lost decade" of the 1980s, Latin America's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Throughout the continent, the social advances and economic growth of the preceding thirty years stalled . . .

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